Get Rich With Google AdSense And WordPress!

Google Adsense graphicThere are as many reasons to blog as there are people on Earth.  Whether it’s to use a blog as a personal diary, a means to share something you are passionate about (like cooking, as my wife does), a “voice” for your professional career or something else, eventually the question comes up:  should I try and earn advertising income from Google AdSense from my readership?

If you’re on the free site, the answer is easy:  you can’t, no user-created JavaScript is allowed.  If you’re on Google’s Blogger, integrating AdSense code is easy.  And if you’re self-hosting using WordPress, Joomla or whatever, you can do whatever you want.  But the question remains, is it worth it to have Google AdSense ads?

In my opinion, unless you’ve got a massive “clicky” readership, probably not.

How much traffic is “enough” to make money from Google AdSense?

As you can see from this blog (as of time of writing at least), I’m running Google AdSense on this blog, which is primarily WordPress and Web Analytics themed.  I’m also running ads on my other blog, The Fuqua Experience, which is truly a niche blog about the Duke Cross Continent MBA program. So two niche blogs, relatively speaking (i.e. not celebrity gossip, technology rumors, politics, or other general interest topics).

On average, there are 2-3 ads per page (primarily leaderboards and skyscrapers), which is the limit for Google.  So much money am I making?  Less than the cost of Deluxe Hosting with GoDaddy!

CPM, CPC…what’s the most efficient way to make money using Google AdSense?

When looking at the Google AdSense reporting, it’s clear that “Cost per Click” is the way to make money with Google AdSense. A few thousand page views with get you a few pennies (Cost per Thousand impressions, or CPM), but an actual click-through to the advertisers website will get you something like 10x the CPM rate.  Here’s a chart of my of weekly performance over 28 months or so:

Google Adsense financial performance

Some weeks I make a few bucks, many I make nothing!

It’s easy to see that even with 3,000-6,000 page views per week across my two blogs, I’m not making a ton of money.  If my audience feels particularly “clicky” on the contextual ads Google AdSense serves, I make between $2-$5 per week.  GoDaddy Deluxe Hosting costs something like $6 per month for unlimited websites on a shared server, so clearly I’m not breaking the bank here!  If I’m lucky, I’m clearing a few dollars per month in profit (excluding the time I actually maintain the two blogs through writing, site development, etc.)

So, who IS making money through Google AdSense advertising?

Monetizing a blog is a Catch-22.  If you don’t have enough readership, you won’t make a ton of money.  If you do have a huge readership like Drudge or Perez Hilton, you can sell ads directly to advertisers without needing the Google AdSense network.  Somewhere in-between, it MAY be worth adding Google AdSense or participating in other affiliate marketing programs.

Heck, maybe you’re an SEO god with a whole network of MFA (Made-for-AdSense) blogs with highly targeted content.  I do have friends who seem to make enough money through these schemes to make it “worth it” to do.  Especially if you’re willing to put in the time to make dozens, if not hundreds of individual blog sites.

That said, it’s up to the individual blog owner what constitutes “worth it” in the trade-off between spending time to generate residual income.  For me, I leave the Google AdSense ads up as a learning experience; it’s good in my industry (digital analytics) to understand all of the Google tools.  And really, that is why I blog at all; to practice implementing Google Analytics, learn PHP and JavaScript through customizing WordPress, and occasionally pontificate on the digital analytics industry.

Are you making money with Google AdSense?  Do you disagree with my assessment of the publisher opportunity?  Sound off in the comments and let me know what I’m missing!



  1. Appledystopia says:

    This is very interesting. I just put up my AdSense code less than 3 weeks ago, and I get about $5 per 1000 page views. I actually started my own LLC and the business model is advertising with AdSense. I have two blogs — one just starting up and one about a month old. Although I expect the blogs to make some revenue, my main piece will be a dynamic web portal, developed in Ruby on Rails. I actually have over a decade of experience with Java EE and am employed in that capacity. Rails is a much better technology for developing web apps. Anyway, when I read this I was a bit bummed out. I am hoping for 1.5% CTR and $5-7 CPM. So far, although it is very early, I am getting results in that neighborhood. In the end, the blogs are not only intended to produce revenues, but also to promote the web portal. With a web portal, people create their own pages and content, with ads on all the pages. If all goes well, I am hoping to quit my day job.
    I do actively promote my blog. I read a few “how to get rich with AdSense” pieces, and most of them say social networking will help immensely. Every time I write a post, I share it on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Digg, StumbleUpon and Tumblr. Then I search on Google news or search for salient posts and write comments. I have found that most tech journalists often leave out a few points when covering a story. I mention a few other nuances, mention that I wrote a post about it, and it seems to get me views. That said, most of the page views I get come from people searching for help with their Mac — AirParrot in particular. Indeed, the “how to” posts tend to get the most eyeballs. News is ephemeral. I got a lot of hits writing about the Mountain Lion release, but it will not be read months from now…
    I am hoping that as my page ranking improves and I have more content, I will do better. What I see with your stats is discouraging, however. I was hoping they would just keep growing in time. I estimate I need 14,000 views a day, just to eek out a living. If I can do that within the next few years, it would be worth doing this full time.
    This is a very nice site. I really like what you have done with the TwentyEleven theme. Well, back to it…

    •  @Appledystopia Best of luck with your traffic/Adsense goal!  If you can make a living out of your blog, you’ll be doing way better than I do…there’s not a ton of traffic potential for my topics, until I can build my personal brand enough to have people look to me as an industry expert.

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